Frequently Asked Questions

What does ‘Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic mean?

Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) is currently used in the UK as a term to describe anyone from a non-White background. The term BAME includes people from a wide variety of ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds.

This definition includes but is not limited to:

• Black African and Black Caribbean people

• Asian and East Asian people

• People who are mixed race

According to the most recent Census, people of colour make up about

14.1% of the population of England and UK.

Are rates of mental illness different for people Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic background?

Rates of mental illness for people from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are sometimes greater than for white people.

• black women are more likely to experience a common mental illness such as anxiety disorder or depression,

• older South Asian women are an at-risk group for suicide,

• black men are more likely to experience psychosis, and

• black people are more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act

But more white people receive treatment for mental health issues than people from BAME backgrounds and they have better outcomes.

Some of the reasons why there are different rates of mental illness for people from these backgrounds are:

• inequalities in wealth and living standards,

• bias, discrimination, and racism,

• stigma about mental health, and

• they are less likely to have mental health issues identified in the criminal justice system

What are the main barriers stopping people from Black, Asian and

Minority Ethnic backgrounds getting good mental health care?

People from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background should the same right to access NHS mental health care as the rest of the population. GPs, talking therapy services and secondary mental health services are there to help.

But people from BAME backgrounds can have different experiences of the mental health system compared to white people. Some BAME groups are less satisfied with their experiences of the NHS, GP and hospital services compared to the rest of the population.

People from BAME backgrounds often said that some of the barriers they face when accessing mental health care are:

• Cultural barriers where mental health issues are not recognised or are not seen as important,

• Language barriers

• Professionals having a lack of knowledge about things that are important to BAME or their experiences,

• Lack of publicity of mental health support and services in some communities,

• Stereotyping. For example, some people think that black people with mental health issues will get angry or aggressive.

• Stigma about mental illness in some communities stops some BAME people seeking help. They can feel ashamed.

How can I overcome barriers to mental health care?

Many people from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds have positive experiences of mental health care which leads to recovery. But accessing mental health services and support might sometimes be a difficult experience.

People can be worried about how they will be perceived by health professionals. This may be in case they are misunderstood, or the service cannot meet their needs.

Mental health services should meet the needs of people from BAME backgrounds. But as mentioned in FAQ 3, sometimes there are issues.

BMHS was established to bridge that gap. Please get in touch or subscribe to one of our services so can help you overcome the barriers to mental health care.